Ship Search off Italy Finds 12th Body, Hard Disk

Posted January 21st, 2012 at 8:05 pm (UTC-5)
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Italian media say police divers searching the Costa Concordia cruise liner, which ran aground earlier this month off the Italian island of Giglio, have found a hard disk containing data of the voyage, as another body was pulled from the wreckage, bringing the death toll to 12..

Media reports say the disk retrieved late Saturday may shed light on the role Captain Francesco Schettino played in the disaster. Italian prosecutors are investigating Schettino's role or lack thereof in the rescue operations the night of the disaster

Divers also recovered the body of a woman in a life vest found in the corridor of a submerged section of the 114,000-ton ship.

Rescue efforts are continuing for 20 people still missing. Officials say chances are slim for finding survivors. Authorities say they are also working to remove oil from the vessel to prevent an environmental disaster.

Italy's civil protection agency took command at the site Saturday after the government declared a state of emergency on the small island. The agency's head, Franco Gabrielli, said that contamination of the surrounding area has begun already.

“I would like this to be clear: this is not an event where nothing happened. This is a story where a 300-meter-long ship carrying 4,000 people on board, plus all these people needed (crew members), is in the sea. So the contamination of the environment, gentlemen, has already occurred.”

Gabrielli says 2,400 tons of fuel is inside the shipwreck and needs to be removed.

The vessel, which is owned by the U.S.-based Carnival Corporation, ran into a rocky reef, which damaged its hull, and caused the vessel to keel over on its side. Carnival Corporation said it would conduct a comprehensive audit of all of its cruise lines to review safety standards and procedures following the Concordia accident.